1921, from rock (n.1) + hound (n.). Used variously of geologists, mineralogists, and amateur collectors."
If you’ve ever been drawn into the fascinating world of geology – rock collecting, spelunking, the works – then you’ve probably heard this phrase.
|Girl dogs are rock hounds, too! Photo: misshappiness|
“Rock hound” is what is known in the Word World as an Americanism. Basically, slang that has its roots in the U.S.A. That being the case, it’s necessarily a lot younger than many phrases we’ve researched in this series!
It took a little digging, but we found its first known use in print in a November, 1920 issue of a trade magazine called Natural Gas:
“C.A. Warner, ex-field geologist for the Empire Gas & Fuel Company, has written an interesting book, “A Book of Practical Field Methods,” that does away with much of the uncertainty of field mapping.
"It also explains how a “rock hound” may more efficiently collect information after an area has begun to produce either oil or gas.”
We were actually kind of surprised to discover that a term for studying rocks had its origins in the early days of gas and oil.
We would have thought its roots were more pure (e.g. associated with the study of rock formations, etc).
But then again, our first guesses are often misplaced, which is what makes this series so much fun for us to write!
|Every good rock hound has a chisel! |
Photo: Miguel Vera
Memidex: Rock hound
Natural Gas Magazine, Volumes 1-2, Natural Gas Publishing Company, 1920
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